Friday, September 16, 2011

So, if its retro, they think it'll buy?: Graduation Day (1981)

Graduation Day (1981)
starring: Christopher George, Patch Mackenzie and E. Danny Murphy

Okay, let me get something off my chest first: I never liked Troma movies. Yes they are funny, and yes they are low-budget shlocks that surprisingly have at least a trillion fans out there, but I'm not one of them. But every once in a while, some good does come out from them such as titles like Mother's Day, Blood Hook and the obscure Dead Dudes in the House, films I really enjoyed despite the weirdness, So when I gave Graduation Day as another chance to redeem the name of Troma, I cleared my mind and said to myself "Okay, so they normally do sleazy, outrageous, comedy-horror with tons of gore, lots of boobs, lot of fat guys going shirtless and some of the props are familiar over and over again, but this one's made in the 80s and it looks decent enough to be likable. If its not, try thinking of it as a horror-comedy and you'll probably do just fine!"

I would like to strangle myself back then.
Don't die on me! Don't die- oops, she's dead.
Okay, let's dump her body...
When Laura Ramstead suffers a heart attack after stressing herself to a hundred meter run, someone decides to do murder for justice-slash-revenge a few months later, as the team's graduation is nearing by the corner and everybody is getting psyched up. Joining in the psyching is a loon with a fencing mask who began offing those in the track team, blaming them for the death, one by one in various sports themed murder, including a pole-volter landing into a bed of nails, literally; some flying football with a javelin attached to it that impales people, rapiers that beheads...yeah, you read it right, our killer somehow found a way how to cut people's heads off with a fencing rapier...

One word came to my mind while watching this movie and that is "cheesy". Maybe a little too much. Heck, the opening theme is already a warning sign for all of that mozzarella that would pile up the whole movie, a montage of sporting events where our would-be dead team members participating in various games like shuttlecock, races and gymnastics, while a disco tune singing "everybody wants to be a winner" (yeah, we all had dreams, bub, we get it, but life isn't about colorful drags all the time ya bum...)
"what's long, hard and stingy?"
If that's not cheesy enough for you, how about a disco themed graduation ball? (Complete with roller rinks!) Or the proof that the King is alive as an Elvis Presley wannabe stars as a Piano teacher? Or how about one final girl vs evil maniac fight involving flying kicks? Yes, Troma had it running here, but I ain't gonna have any of that.

If the film isn't trying to be a grilled cheese sandwich, it tries to be a straight horror at times, but even that failed to leave a good impression. The gore effects looked fake, the kills are hardly plausible (how does a fencing blade decapitate someone?!) and the whodunit mystery isn't all that engaging.

But at times, it does work. The final confrontation did dabbled on the dark stuff by having our killer dig up the decomposing body of our deceased track star and dressing her up in graduation clothes, a little similar to what I assume is a tribute to this film's shocker, Girls Nite Out (1984). Yes, I do admit, that scene was decent, but it kinda occurred to me why are the dead rotting bodies blue? Shouldn't they me brownish or black? Or a little pale?
Believe me, I timed this movie, too...
Sorry guys, but those who love a good cheddar whodunit will find a haven here; heck the rest of the world might too, but I'm staying away from this one. I'm not trying to be a bad guy here, you're talking to a guy who enjoyed "Christmas Evil (1980)" For Jebus' sake! But when I'm bored, I'm bored, and Graduation Day failed to enlighten me. I watched it again and I still feel bland. Watch it if you like, It's you choice...

1 female stresses to a heart seizure
1 female slashed with razor
1 female gets her neck punctured with lapier
1 male impaled by spiked football
1 male head found
1 female decapitated with lapier offscreen
1 male lands into a bed filled with pikes, impaled
1 male shot
1 male pushed to spikes, bled to death
total: 9

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